Season-long hot form rewarded

Season-long hot form rewarded

West Gambier has been awarded the Mount Gambier and District Cricket Association Barber Shield, despite not taking to the field in the grand final.

Initially scheduled as a two day match on Saturday and Sunday, the final against North Sportsman’s was changed to a one day match on Sunday following hot weather forecast on Saturday.

However, the rescheduled match was again postponed, and instead shifted to Monday after scorching temperatures were again forecast for Sunday.

Finally the association abandoned the grand final on Monday morning, when its heat policy prohibited players taking to the field.

West Gambier captain Bray Stephenson said his side was delighted to win the shield, the A grade’s first in 41 years, but wished it was under different circumstances.

“It’s not the way we wanted to win it,” he said.

“Unfortunately the league did not have a reserve weekend ready to go which is something we need to look at next year.

“It’s still a bloody good feeling.”

Stephenson said the win was the result of a solid season of cricket from his players.

“We did not just fall into the top spot,” he said.

“We know who ever turned up this weekend to play us there was no way we were going to lose this two years in a row.”

Mount Gambier and District Cricket Association vice president Steve Fisher presented the shields to the winning teams yesterday, with president Robert Drenthen playing in Adelaide over the weekend.

Fisher said the weekend was a waiting game, with the decision taken out of the captains’ hands and instead decided by the association’s stringent bylaws.

“There are guidelines put into position because of these sorts of situations we have in cricket, around heat restrictions and insurance,” he said.

“We put Monday as the back up day, in case on Saturday and Sunday there was no cricket played.

“Everyone wants a result, but we do not allow that, who would have thought that we would have three days above 38 degrees in Mount Gambier?

“Gary Ashby who does the wickets has never seen it, it never happens like this.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s why you play for position, the minor premier was how it was decided many years ago, they did not have grand finals.

“How would it be if West had lost last week, North would have been premiers who finished third.”

Fisher said there was ongoing communication between the clubs and the association across the weekend.

“With social chats, we have a group chat, it was quite easy to communicate with everyone, we just needed to make sure everyone had their head around the bylaws,” he said.

“Our bylaws say if it is forecast at 38 at 8am then it’s too hot to play.

“It was not that long ago that we did not have Monday as a back up day, we had that in place in case we had two wet days really.

“Monday was only to be used if there was no game on Saturday or Sunday, if Saturday was washed out or heat impacted then Sunday became a one day fixture, without using Monday.

“That’s the way we play home and away, we just want the best for the individuals who play and player protection is key.

“It’s not ideal and not the optimal way to do it but I’m sure there have been other games impacted by the weather. Looking around the state there were a lot of competitions that had the same results.”

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